Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I Want Future Children to Read

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Oh, hello. I am back after taking an unexpected week off from blogging. If you are wondering, I did not die so there's that. I took the week off, being sick, and spent the whole seven days sleeping. It was nice. However, I am back and it's go time. Today's Top Ten Tuesday is not entirely relevant to me since I have no desire to have any children, in the future or otherwise. Therefore, I switched up the theme a little bit.

A lot of children nowadays are scoping the Internet for viral videos, playing the latest video games, or texting away on their new phones. Not a lot of children read, unless the book is required for school. So, I hope the children of the future are reading because they definitely do not want to miss these amazing books. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Want Future Children to Read:

Going Bovine by Libba Bray: Absolutely mind-blowing! Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors of all time. Future children have to be still reading her work because she is a genius. A young boy, diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, takes a road trip with a yard gnome, a dwarf and a punk angel to find the cure that will save him. 

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: Not only did The Book Thief teach me quite a bit about Germany during the Holocaust but it also taught me about the importance of reading and how some things are worth fighting for.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly: I had to add a time travel adventure in this list. It's definitely required. And when readers think of time travel, not a lot of people mention this one. Revolution is a fantastic story about Andi who finds an ancient diary that opens up a whole new world for her.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: The children of the world need to read this. And I also still need to read it. (Soon, I promise.) This is such an important book that is incredibly powerful and relevant to today's news and media.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien: Classic! I hope the children of tomorrow are reading Lord of the Rings. I adored these books growing up. Also, did you hear that Amazon is turning the books into a tv series? That's some interesting news that should push even more people to pick up the trilogy.

Unfiltered by Lily Collins: I wish I had read this book when I was in high school. Lily Collins, an actress best known for her role as Clary in the City of Bones movie, is such an amazing role model. Her memoir discusses peer pressure, love, and issues that every person can relate to.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown: I read Hate List, when I was in middle school and it shook me to my core. It is about the aftermath of a school shooting that is heart wrenching and incredibly realistic.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: I thought I'd sneak this one in there. Six of Crows is one of my favorite books I've read this year. It has a whole lot to offer with morally gray characters and a diverse cast. I think a lot of older children will adore the humor and adventure of the duology.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman: This book is a gateway book, meaning that it has a little bit of everything that will appeal to a variety of readers and even non-readers. It is the book that will get you into reading. Plus, there's a movie adaptation of it!

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Saved the best one for last. Seriously, reading Harry Potter as a child is a tradition that all readers need to continue with their own children. (It's a tradition I missed out on since I read the books when I was in high school.) Also, with the new illustrated editions of the books (which are so gorgeous!), kids will surely love them!

Which books do you recommend to the children of the future?

book review

Beloved Finale | Winter by Marissa Meyer

Friday, November 03, 2017

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: 11/10/15
Pages: 827
Source: purchased

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

There may be slight spoilers for those who have not read the previous books in the series (Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress).

Cinder and her friends are back in this superb finale. This time, she is taking down the queen once and for all, placing the rightful heir on the throne (which just so happens to be Cinder, herself). However, she cannot do this alone. By her side, her whole crew is back and no sooner does the first page end, do they put their plan into motion. 

The Lunar Chronicles is Back!

  • Can you believe this is the fourth and final book of the series? I have a thing about series finales. In that, I never seem to finish series because reading that last book means it’s over. You will never get that first impression experience again because the series is read and complete. Now that I have finished the Lunar Chronicles, it does feel final. It’s sad. However, no one could forget about Stars Above, a collection of stories during the Lunar Chronicles. So, technically, I still have more to look forward to.
  • Marissa Meyer wastes no time and literally puts us right back where we left off. It took a few pages to actually remember where we left off, but after figuring out where everyone was and what was going on (it’s been over a year or so since I read Cress), I was swiftly brought into the swing of things. And then I couldn’t stop. 
  • Winter is nonstop action from start to finish. I had trouble putting the book down for things I needed to get done, such as eat and sleep. 😄
  • It’s fantastic to be back into Meyer’s world. It is like returning home from a long time away, Winter presents the same quirky and great characters we all know and love (who else loves Thorne?).

Injustice for Iko

  • In Cinder, Iko was my favorite. Cinder was the type of character that I didn’t warm up to until later in the series. However, Iko really shined in the first book. So, in Winter, when literally every other character gets to put In A Relationship on their profile on Facebook, I couldn’t help but see the injustice that was dished out here. Where is the person for Iko?
  • It is very clear from the beginning who is going to end up with whom. However, the romance is cut short, in Winter, due to the circumstances of the characters and the constant action—they’ve got a whole planet to take over, after all.
  • There is so much precious character development in the works. It is lovely and just makes me so happy. The action of Winter really forces the characters into positions, pushing them to make choices that you wouldn’t expect them to make.

Snow White and There Are No Seven Dwarfs

  • The Lunar Chronicles is a gorgeous series of complex fairytale retellings. This time, Marissa Meyer takes on Snow White, twisting the happy fairytale to fit around the plot of the series.
  • It is fantastically interwoven into this clever plot that has been building since book one. Every book has gotten a little closer to the final goal. With any series ending, it is always sad to see it end—the feeling is bittersweet. However, it is undeniably sweet when all the books come together; the four retellings match like puzzle pieces.

A Retelling Which is Not a Retelling

  • This book may be titled Winter, a sure sign it will be about a character named Winter, however, that is not entirely the case. Where each book prior to Winter has been focused on the character each was titled after (Cinder was about Cinder, Scarlet was about Scarlet and Cress about Cress), Winter is more of a continuation of the series.
  • In a way, Winter plays two paths. The one path is the Snow White retelling and the other is the series finale. However, Winter was such a strange and delightful character that instead of focusing so much on Cinder’s mission, I would have loved to see more of Winter and her perspective on things.

Winter is My Best Friend

  • Winter is extremely similar to Luna Lovegood.
  • Thorne is my favorite character in serving out some much-needed comedic relief. He is hilarious and he could be dying but you will still smile because he cracked a joke. Winter is a different type of comedic relief, in that if she were real, she would be your best friend.
  • Similar to Iko, Winter is written in a way that makes you see her as real. She jumps out of the pages—it’s as if she is sitting next to you as you read. 

Abrupt Plot Holes

  • There was absolutely no confusion in jumping from one perspective to the next. That very style is what kept the plot flowing so well. However, there is a hiccup in the structure of the plot. It is both abrupt and unexplained.
  • Without giving any spoilers away, there just seems to be a few questions left unanswered. It comes in the form of a time gap which leaves the plot with some holes. 

Satisfying Finale

  • The climax was tremendously stressful (but, you know, in a good way). You will not be able to look away, already too invested into the characters and the world which Meyer has built. It will take your breath away and may stab you several times. 
  • As an end to a series, I am most happy with the results. It is not unrealistically all butterflies and flowers and for that I am grateful. For the Lunar Chronicles to be left on a note which is too perfect would be worrisome. Winter ends on a resounding note, however; it is a good ending. It is satisfying.
matt damon directory grimm GIF


Winter may not have been the best out of the four novels. However, with fantastic characters and an unforgettable climax, Winter brings the Lunar Chronicles to a close, a finale the readers will be talking about for a long time. 

Cinder (1/3/12): 5 stars
Scarlet (2/5/13): 4 stars
Cress (2/4/14): 5 stars
Fairest (1/27/15): 4 stars
Winter (11/10/15): 4 stars
Stars Above (2/2/16): TBD

kickin' it

Kickin' It: October 2017

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Kickin’ It is a feature at The Bucket List where I round-up the whole month in one post, bringing you reviews you may have missed, other awesome bookish things, and even what I’m currently obsessed with in other media besides books. Can you believe it's already November? Where did the time go? October was an okay month. I only read four books this month which includes Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, capping at around 870 pages. Therefore, I excuse myself for only getting four done because Voyager is a monster of a book. However, I tried audiobooks this month. That's a milestone, my first audiobook ever (I know, it's about time). It was interesting, I may continue with this audiobook craze in the future. Here's my recap for October:

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon: I just finished this one Tuesday and really enjoyed it. As far as the series goes, this is probably my least favorite book of them all so far. However, I did enjoy the new setting (the high seas and Jamaica) and the new obstacles the characters faced in this one. There were pirates (which was so much fun) (you can not have a book set on the high seas and not include pirates)!  I was not a fan of some of the choices made but I'm interested to see what happens next. Plus, I cannot wait to see how they pull some of the scenes off on the screen in this season's show, Outlander.

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz: Despite a bit confusion at the characters’ perspectives, readers will, not only, feel the need to marathon all her other books (starting with Project 17, which is also a horror novel) but also immediately need to pick up the sequel, Return to the Dark House. Welcome to the Dark House is filled with thrills and chills of all kinds which will keep you up at night.

Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria StolarzReturn to the Dark House is incredibly entertaining, filled with twists and turns which will keep you guessing until the very end. Laurie Faria Stolarz created an amazing sequel which will definitely keep you up at night. Just remember to keep the lights on.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (3/27/14): I admit, I'm drawn by that cover. It is so gorgeous.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (8/28/17): I loved the movie. I love Leigh Bardugo's work. How can I not read this?

Renegades by Marissa Meyer (11/7/17): Marissa Meyer is coming out with a new book! I adore The Lunar Chronicles series so immediately added this one as soon as I heard of its release. It sounds like it could be good so we shall just have to see. 😃

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (11/7/17): Having only read the first Mara Dyer book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I'll have to race through the rest of the series to get to this spin-off. However, I am so pumped to read more about Noah. Noah is definitely one of my many book boyfriends and I cannot wait to see what Michelle Hodkin has in store for us with this one.

I didn't see that many movies this month. However, I was able to rewatch the Thor movies in anticipation of the new one coming out in November! And I did venture to the theater to see American Made, a movie my dad was dying to see. It's crazy to think it was based on a true story but I enjoyed it. Mr. Robot, with its new season, finally aired this month and I'm excited to see what direction the show goes in. It's such an amazing show; I highly recommend it!

mr robot GIF

How was your October? Read any awesome books this month? What movies did you watch?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 5 Fictional Houses I Would Trick or Treat At

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! How are you spending this spooktacular day? Besides the awesome horror movie line-up I have planned for later this evening, I'm racing to finish two books before the month is over. However, Halloween is one of the only holidays that allows people to eat all the candy they want so you know, I'm eating some Reese's even as I write this. Yum.

Despite not having any plans to go out trick or treating tonight, I was thinking about all the amazing fictional houses I would totally jump at the chance to snag some candy from their doorstep. Unfortunately, I could only think of 5 awesome fictional houses. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is: Halloween Freebie (Top 5 Fictional Houses I Would Trick or Treat At):

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Ketterdam must be a buzz during the Halloween season. Everyone going to parties in costumes, masks that cover their entire faces. It would be both a bit creepy but super fun to join in the festivities of whatever Ketterdam throws for the holiday. Plus, after all those parties, I'll take some waffles please.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: Baked goods. Lara Jean would most definitely be giving out some of her homemade cookies to trick or treaters.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Imagine if Blue's house was open for some public psychic readings. Pass the candy corn and pick up some cards.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: For this one, trick or treaters have to step foot into the Beast's castle. Rooms that shift while you're in them. Doors that hide trapped souls. This would be the ultimate haunted house and perfect to explore on Halloween.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga: There's no other house like Jasper's on Halloween. Wouldn't you want to visit the childhood home of a serial killer? Just be careful as Grandma keeps her shot gun right next to the door for any unwanted guests.

Which fictional houses are you trick or treating at?

book review

Keep the Lights On | Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Friday, October 27, 2017

Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: 7/21/15
Pages: 368
Source: publisher in exchange for honest review

Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

After Ivy escapes the Dark House, she can’t shake what happened there. The broken promise of returning to rescue Parker and leaving him behind haunts her still. The police have no new leads and Ivy decides to take the case into her own hands. The killer always vowed she would return for the sequel and he was right.  

It is rare for sequels to go above and beyond the first. However, Return to the Dark House kicks it up a notch with new scenery, new scares, and a bigger climax than the first. 

The biggest change between the two books is the lack of perspective changes with each chapter. In Welcome to the Dark House, it follows a new characters’ perspective each chapter—getting inside the head’s of, at least, six characters. This makes for a difficult read as readers are constantly confused as to which character is which. In Return to the Dark House, readers will have no such problem. Yes, there is a bit of perspective change but not to the degree as the first book. 

Lauria Faria Stolarz continues Ivy’s story in this sequel which tops the first. The writing is fantastic; it definitely keeps readers on the edges of their seats.  Whereas in Welcome to the Dark House Stolarz recycled classic horror clichés, the sequel is fresh. Also, Stolarz creates an elaborate layered plot, leaving readers to fall deeper into the story.

Reading the first book in the Dark House duology, I didn’t feel as connected to Ivy. Her story was unrelatable. Having a cast of seven main characters (in Welcome to the Dark House), it was difficult to focus on one or the other. In the sequel, however, Ivy quickly becomes everyone’s favorite protagonist. In her desire to rescue Parker and the others, readers will easily be drawn to her bravery and loyalty. 

Return to the Dark House is incredibly entertaining, filled with twists and turns which will keep you guessing until the very end. Laurie Faria Stolarz created an amazing sequel which will definitely keep you up at night. Just remember to keep the lights on.

Welcome to the Dark House (7/22/14): 3 stars
Return to the Dark House (7/21/15): 4 stars